Some opportunities that come available for this job you think, ‘That’s not actually going to be hard work is it?’ and seeing the purveyors of meaningful songwriting prose, James, perform this last weekend at The Latitude Festival was certainly no hardship. When the first few notes began on a slow drip feed of their opening song, ‘Out To Get You’, there was simply no other response than to just melt away with it.
What struck me as they made their way through some of their new songs off the forthcoming album, Living in Extraordinary Times, was that they have lost nothing in their efficacy over the years. A portion of the new songs are indeed politically charged and based on the fractures of thinking and resolve that we all are experiencing now during such tumultuous times. That is often the role of musicians, to reflect the state of things at certain junctures. Equally, however, there are most assuredly songs in the album which emote and capture the human condition at which James has always excelled.
Moreover, their stage presence and musicianship just cannot be faulted and when you add to that to the always stellar lyricism, their whole aura creates such mastery. I was equally as contented to hear the new material as well as the long-time favoured body of work because you end up staring in a kind of languishing awe no matter what they are performing. Seeing frontman Tim Booth wholly engage with his audience, as at one point he was standing on the railing being supported solely by the fans’ arms and hands, was indicative of their approach to life and being artists. They believe in the open-minded and that translates directly in their songs; open, fresh, meaningful, clarifying and almost soothing at times.
I was a bit morose when the set finished as it just hit every mark for me, but my flame of ardour for them was fully reignited leaving me charged and in heady anticipation for the release of their album on the 3rd August. Definitely one to catch!
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